White Washing The “Green Book,” …and “The Gay Yellow Pages” Guidebook
I saw the movie, Green Book, recently and I had mixed feelings about it. The performances were excellent, but the content left me wondering. I can see why there was so much negative criticism about whitewashing. It didn’t surprise me.
We’ve seen Hollywood films whitewash black experiences throughout history for the purpose of sanitizing racism and showing white people in a more favorable light (I’ll never forget , as much as I’d like to). Here’s a link to more about this.
One thing that really bothered me about the movie is that we only get to see a glimpse of the actual Green Book during the film. There are no real details offered about this book, and that for me is what the main focus of the film should have been about. I wanted to learn more about it. The book was actually titled The Negro Motorist Green Book. I didn’t know there was a book like this, and I would bet most people don’t know.
It was originated and published by African American, New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against African Americans especially and other non-whites was widespread. Here’s a lot more about it.
I’m also not thrilled with the way they handled the gay angle in Green Book. The brief mention of anything gay was accurate, for the time period, however, it was so whitewashed and so glossed over if you blink you’ll miss it. The fact that Don Shirley was gay and black deserved more attention than it received. In fact, I think it was insulting to everyone who’s not white and heteronormative.
With that said, there’s another book that gay men used all the time in the 1970s called The Gayellow Pages. I tried to find more history, but the best I could come up with was this web site, which actually is still the Gayellow Pages. Back when it was first published it was an actual print book that I would imagine was updated and revised every so often so it would remain relevant and accurate.
The Gayellow Pages has evolved over the years and it’s now considered a source for anyone who falls under the LGBTQ umbrella, but from what I’ve been told by older gay friends this was the go-to source at one time for travelling or for discovering gay friendly venues, discreetly. According to the web site, The Gayellow Pages dates back to 1973, when there was obviously no Internet and the only way for gay people to connect was with a discreet guide. In other words, things like gay bars and bathhouses were listed there.
But the truth is I don’t know much about The Gayellow Pages and there isn’t much history about it anywhere online, at least not with a simple search. All I know is that from what I’ve been told through older friends of mine it was a resource for gay people so that they could find out where it was safe to go, and where they could be with other gay people.
Here are a few quotes from the web site as it stands today. If you click the link you can find out everything you need to know. But I couldn’t find any real history anywhere.
"The most reliable Gay print source in the Gay community. I've been using it since the 1970s."
Dr Charles Silverstein, co-author of 'The New Joy of Gay Sex'.
(Jack Nichols, Gay Today, June 2000)
As for Green Book the movie. The content left a lot to be desired, and I don’t mean that figuratively.
Gay Star News and Chechnya Crisis
According to this article, the publication, Gay Star News, has been actively working to help stop the LGBTI purge in Chechnya. They’ve already raised quite a bit of money through crowdfunding. And this money is all going to a very good cause.
LGBTI people are being rounded up, detained, tortured and executed in Chechnya. The ‘gay purge’ has been happening periodically since the end of 2016.
You can read it all in detail, here. They go into more detail about how they’ve partnered with the Russian LGBTI network, and how they’re helping to evacuate LGBTI people. There’s a donate button at the link.
Roland Marcus—rich, handsome and pushing 40—is still not over the fact that his 20-year relationship has ended, and desperately needs someone to distract him while he attends a bevvy of charity events in New York. With all eyes upon him, including his ex’s (who left him for a younger man), Roland accidentally bumps into a hot young guy in a used book store…a strapping male hustler whom he decides to hire for one week to accompany him to his social events. He offers him $5,000, with no strings attached, to just stand by his side and look pretty.
Josh Holden, a young guy who is helping to support his son and saving money to buy a business with his best friend and ex-wife, is only too happy to escort Roland anywhere he wants to go that week. And he’s not doing it just for the money…
Roland learns in less than a week’s time that his future can still hold both earth-shattering sex and a love of real substance.